LINX Cargo Care Group enables new transport avenue to Central West with LINX Intermodal terminal expansion

LINX Cargo Care Group has enabled a new arterial avenue for Australia’s grain farmers in the Central West with the recent expansion of services from its LINX Intermodal Terminal, part of the Enfield Intermodal Logistics Centre.

LINX Cargo Care Group is now partnering with CWLT Logistics to enable new services between Sydney and Bathurst, with Forbes next in line. As part of the Terminal’s expansion, LINX Cargo Care Group has opened on-site fumigation services to streamline the process from ports to rail and reduce traffic, while enabling aligned service provider ACFS Port Logistics (ACFS) to undertake rural and regional tailgate inspections at the terminal.

“The LINX Intermodal Terminal is becoming a one-stop shop for Australia’s supply chain backbone, enabling greater sustainability, reduced traffic and improved rail access between the Central West and Sydney,” said Carlo Cutinelli, Executive General Manager Customer & Business Development at LINX Cargo Care Group. “The continued investment from LINX Cargo Care Group as well as NSW Ports into the infrastructure both at the LINX Intermodal Terminal and the ports is paying off, with our farmers the first to benefit.”

Grain farmers in the Central West will be the key early beneficiaries of the Sydney to Bathurst service and rural tailgate inspection services, with a quicker turnaround to the ports now possible. Driven by above-average rainfall between March and August, NSW is expected to lead a bumper harvest with winter crop production in the state predicted to rise 49 per cent above the 10-year average to 2019-20.

Those farmers will now have a quicker path to the ports with LINX’s upgraded services and expanded Terminal operations.

“This is further streamlining the supply chain between Australia’s heartland and key export markets, and it’s also reducing the impacts of traffic on regional roads and around the ports,” said Cutinelli.

The NSW Government’s Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023 highlighted a plan to increase the road to rail share of rail freight at Port Botany to 28 per cent by 2021 and reduce the impact of truck movements around the ports. The expansion of capabilities at the LINX Intermodal Terminal will significantly reduce the impact of two-truck movements, as well as the overall number of trucks, around Botany.

ACFS Managing Director and CEO, Arthur Tzaneros says customers in NSW’s central west will benefit from the overall productivity and capability of the LINX Intermodal Terminal.

“With the support and alliance of many of the major shipping lines, upgrade and repair facilities, as well as the key strength of 3 x 900m tracks which allows for the service of 1.8m trains, this provides a distinct advantage in the LINX Intermodal Terminal service that will reap benefits for the Central West service, and its related customers,” said Tzaneros.

“Furthermore, customers can now also receive an end-to-end service on imports, further streamlining the port to rail process on the port shuttle that is serviced via the dedicated freight line, while complying with all relevant import regulations.”

LINX’s Fumigation, Tailgate Capabilities Reduce Truck Movements, Enable Sustainable Supply Chain

LINX’s fumigation services for imported containers – which meet the stringent safety, health, agricultural and environmental requirements from a host of stakeholders including Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, SafeWork NSW and Border Control – will remove the number of trucks from suburban roads around Port Botany by reducing two-truck movement.

“If a transport company needs to go and pick up a container from the port, they’ll have to pick it up from the port and then they will need to take it to a provider that does fumigation and generally they’re around Port Botany,” said Cutinelli. “Then they’ve got to drop the container off there and once the container is fumigated, vented, and cleared, they need to go back to that facility again, collect the container and then drop it off at their customer or bring it back to their depot and then deliver the container to the customer.

“With our service, we collect the container from the port, we bring it back to the LINX Intermodal Terminal, it goes directly off our train into the fumigation area. It gets fumigated, vented, cleared and then we can then get that container and put it directly into our subtenant’s yard or our customer comes and collects the box.

“We’re now able to clear up to 40 containers a day.”

A tailgate inspection involves a visual inspection of the inside of a container to see if there are insects, dirt, or grass. If any of these are found that could indicate the presence of pests which could affect agriculture, LINX now has the facilities in the LINX Intermodal Terminal for ACFS to be able to wash down a container.

“Our customer doesn’t worry about the container until it’s placed into the transition bay for onsite customers,” said Cutinelli. “They send us the booking and the next thing they know is the containers are put into the terminal, cleared, and in the transition bay or the location where they can come and collect it.”

Container rail into Port Botany. Photo: Sydney Ports

NSW provides information for freight industry to be COVID Safe

The NSW government has released industry-specific information for the transport and freight businesses to help them navigate the risk of COVID-19.

According to Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, the materials have been designed for non-customer facing businesses and to provide practical guidance to limit the spread of the virus.

“80,000 businesses have already downloaded the NSW Government’s COVID Safety Plans, and we’ve now created additional resources for transport, freight and ride shares, offices, construction sites, and manufacturing premises,” Anderson said.

The NSW government has kept borders open to rail freight throughout the crisis, with no restriction on interstate movement into NSW for rail.

In addition, freight trains were given extra access to the Sydney metropolitan rail network in what were ordinarily restricted periods for passenger rail only.

NSW Ports CEO, Marika Calfas, said such measures should remain in place for the foreseeable future.

“These measures should be continued in the longer term to deliver community-wide productivity benefits, allowing trucks to supply businesses during evening periods, to alleviate pressures on the road networks during peak hours, and freight trains and passenger trains to share the network safely,” Calfas said.

“This will be especially important during the recovery phase when road congestion is likely to be exacerbated due to reduced public transport usage.”

Anderson said that the NSW government was working to ensure that businesses can operate as smoothly as possible.

“Ultimately we want to focus on getting NSW’s economy back up and running and providing businesses with the right guidance to operate safely and successfully in the current climate.”

The online database of information includes checklists for a COVID-19 safety plan for businesses, covering wellbeing of staff and customers, physical distancing, hygiene and cleaning, and record keeping. Businesses are also encouraged to register as being COVID Safe. Links to financial assistance are also available.

Port Botany freight network upgrades added to IA Priority List

Infrastructure Australia will add the Port Botany Rail Line Duplication and Cabramatta Passing Loop project to the body’s Infrastructure Priority List.

The recognition signals the project as a significant one for not just the rail freight network, but wider, national supply chains. Chief Executive of Infrastructure Romilly Madew highlighted how the project is critical.

“Port Botany handles 99 per cent of NSW’s container demand, making it a critical international gateway for Australia and a backbone asset for economic product within Sydney and New South Wales,” she said.

“With demand only increasing, it is vital that Port Botany maintains throughput capacity to meet container growth over the long term.”

The dual projects provide for an increase in the capacity of rail to deliver containers to Port Botany. The project involves duplicating 2.9km of the line and constructing a passing loop at Cabramatta on the Southern Sydney Freight Line.

Moving more containers by rail will also benefit surrounding suburbs and road networks, said Madew.

“Currently more than 80 per cent of containers to and from Port Botany are transported by road.

“This worsens congestion on the Sydney road network, particularly in and around the already constrained Port Botany precinct, which includes Sydney Airport and the M5 Motorway.”

The project would further improve supply chains by increasing capacity on the Southern Sydney Freight Line and the Port Botany rail line, which are forecast to exceed capacity by 2023 and 2026, respectively.

A number of intermodal terminals are also planned for the Sydney basin, including at St Marys and a future site near Western Sydney Airport, and demand for greater rail capacity is also being generated by the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal and the Enfield Intermodal Terminal.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack welcomed Infrastructure Australia’s determination on the $400 million project.

“It’s great to see job-creating infrastructure and freight initiatives such as these recognised as priority projects by Infrastructure Australia, particularly at a time when getting goods to consumers is so essential.”

An upgrade of the existing line to Port Botany was also recently completed.

John Fullerton, CEO of the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), which is overseeing the project, highlighted that efficient supply chains are more important than ever.

“We have all seen how critical our transport and freight sector is during the current COVID-19 crisis.

“These two projects are essential to helping Sydney, and New South Wales, in meeting its future freight demands. Containers are expected to grow from 2.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) to 8.4m TEUs by 2045. Rail can and needs to carry more of the freight task, not only through Port Botany – but across the country.”

CEO of NSW Ports, Marika Calfas, said that work should begin as soon as possible on the duplication and passing loop.

“Having been under development for many years, this project is ‘shovel ready’ and should be progressed as a priority to deliver long term port supply chain productivity benefits and provide needed economic stimulus for NSW.”

Calfas highlighted that Port Botany is hoping to significantly increase the number of containers moved by rail.

“Port Botany is the only container port in Australia with on-dock rail at all three of its container terminals and, together with the stevedores, we are making significant investments to increase port-side rail capacity to meet this goal. The first stage of investment of $190 million commenced in 2019 and will be complete by 2023.  This will double existing rail capacity at Port Botany.”

CEO of the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), Kirk Coningham, said that the organisation is ready to progress the project.

“ALC hopes governments will now work with industry to expedite the delivery of this priority project, to strengthen the efficiency of our supply chains and help provide economic stimulus in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In January this year, ARTC announced that it had shortlisted three contractors for the Botany Rail Duplication project, and that John Holland has been shortlisted for the Cabramatta Loop project.

Next phase of construction for the $190m ‘on-dock’ rail project

The $190 million ‘on-dock’ rail project at Patrick Terminals – Sydney AutoStrad at Port Botany is entering its next progression phase of construction.

The on-dock’ rail project, undertaken in conjunction with NSW Ports, is expected to increase rail capacity at Patrick Terminals – Sydney AutoStrad from 250,000 TEU to 1 million TEU.

The company will shortly commence the installation and commissioning of three new  automated rail mounted gantry (ARMG) cranes and changes to rail windows will take effect from next month.

Patrick Terminals stated that current rail volume will be maintained and rail windows will be optimised by consolidating and removing inefficient services from the schedule.

Michael Jovicic, CEO of Patrick Terminals said he is very pleased with the current progress of the project.

“This decision to minimise disruptions to rail services at Patrick Terminals is supported by NSW Ports and the NSW Government who are committed to a long-term plan of sustainable freight modes,” Jovicic said.

Patrick Terminals’ largest international shipping container terminal is based at Port Botany (PBT) on NSW Ports land at Brotherson Dock.

NSW Ports reports the investment in rail infrastructure will reduce the growth in truck movements around the port. 

Patrick Terminals’ stated in a report last year that when fully operational, this investment will reduce truck-kilometres travelled in Sydney by at least 10 million per year.

Patrick’s agreement with NSW Ports will significantly increase the terminal’s rail capacity and enhance efficiency in container movements at the port that will in turn reduce the number of trucks required to visit the terminal.

Customers impacted by the changes to rail windows will be contacted by the dedicated Patrick Terminals rail team.

The first stage of the project, which includes four 300 metre sidings, is due to be completed by the end of the year.